Well that's that then! Gods, but why did it have to end?!
For years I've maintained that story-telling through the medium of video games has the potential to be more powerful than the likes of books and films – and titles like Horizon Zero Dawn are perfect examples of that. Okay, so it has its gameplay flaws, but I'm happy to overlook them entirely for the rich tapestry it weaves!
Memories I'll cherish include:
- Crawling naively through the Old One ruins in the prologue. No matter how keenly I listened to audio logs and read transcripts, I had no idea what was to come.
- Activating my first vantage viewpoint and realising where/when(ish) I am.
- Tentatively entering Devil's Thirst, refusing to exit stealth mode for any reason whatsoever (after all, the Nora told me to be afraid!).
- Looting a pile of Old One relics for Bright Bracelets and Chimes, sighing sadly to myself.
- Crawling through Cauldron Sigma with a sense of awe and wonder. I don't know what I expected when I entered the imposing triangular door, but it wasn't this…
- Daytower. In one moment, I go from a vague resentment of Carja past deeds to absolute respect for their power and culture.
- Meridian. I approached from the maize-fields, to see the looming silhouette of the cityscape above me. It's not hard to imagine how Aloy feels, seeing it for the first time.
- The ruins of FAS, when it all really starts to come together. Elisabet's proposal to Ted wasn't explicit, but the implication and the sense of foreboding was magnificent.
- Realising how dark and morally grey the Zero Dawn solution was; and how hopeless the other options were. The dawning realisation was gradual, awful and unstoppable.
- Elisabet's fate. There went Aloy, but for a different upbringing.
- Unearthing Ted's final (?) betrayal in the ruins of Gaia Prime. I can fault him for his means, but can I fault his fears?
- Seeing Elisabet's final resting place, and Gaia's tribute to her (and the rest of the metal flowers I've so diligently been collecting). I'm not sure why her biomass wasn't consumed, but it was definitely more poetic with her skin still on.
Having only finished it yesterday (with roughly 110 hours on the clock), I just want to talk to everyone about it. I have so many questions and thoughts rattling around my brain-cage!
What happened to Elysium? Did Odyssey really explode? Who are the pale-skinned clones in The Forbidden West? What did Ted build in Thebes? Do we honestly believe he went alone, and artificially sterilised himself? Who or what made Hades self-aware? Is Apollo really gone forever, or is there a backup somewhere?